Saturday, May 9, 2009

Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, and the Splendor of Truth

By Richard John Neuhaus, 260 pages, Basic Books.

The late John Richard Neuhaus, a convert to Catholicism after 30 years as a Lutheran pastor in America, offers a keen, blunt analysis about the empty spiritual landscape of post-Christian liberal secularism: “Where orthodoxy is optional, it will, in time, be proscribed. The truth of that axiom is today on sad display in the agonies of liberal Protestantism.”

He also offers his insider view of Protestants: “The Protestant principle, as we know from sad experience, is so protean and subject to variation that it results either in gutting the tradition or in creating new traditions around which further schisms are formed. Theology that is not in service to 'the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3) will, in time, turn against the faith once delivered to the saints. Ideas that are not held accountable to 'the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of truth' (I Timothy 3:15) will, in time, turn against the enemy of that truth.”

In Catholic Matters, the author intertwines his personal journey into the Catholic Church from the mess of liberal and foggy Lutheranism. He has personally lived the sad experiences of the oldline North American churches and their descent into post-Christian theology and a love for anything that is not masculine, Western, and orthodox Christian.

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